October 4, 2016

White People, You’ll Never Understand.


Last night, while trying desperately to fall asleep and to put my anger, confusion, and outrage over the news of more innocent, unarmed black men being gunned down by police to bed, I realized something that rocked me to my core:

I’ll never truly understand.

As a white woman, I’ll never know the fear that my wife, my brother, my son, or my countless cousins, family members and friends feel when they go out on a daily basis—simply because they are black.

As a white woman, I’ll never know the anxiety that creeps up into the throats of my black brothers and sisters as they drive down the street with a police car following not too far behind, wondering if they will make it home that night.

As a white woman, I’ll never know the true rage, confusion, and deep-seated sadness that washes over me every time I see another black man, woman, or child being gunned down by the very people who are meant to protect them.

As a white woman, I’ll never know it for myself because according to the f**ked up society that we live in, I was born the “right” color.

As a white woman, I’ll likely never be profiled, wrongfully accused and detained, beaten or shot for simply reading a book or for standing by my stalled car.

As a white woman, I’ll never truly understand.

You see it doesn’t matter that I grew up in a racially mixed family or that I didn’t know I was any different. It doesn’t matter that I went to a “black” church, or that the majority of my friends growing up were black. It doesn’t matter that my name is Lamisha and people always assume I am black before meeting me in person or that I dated outside my race exclusively.

It doesn’t matter because, despite all of this, I am white and as a white woman, I’ll never truly understand the pain, fear, anxiety, rage, and injustice that my black friends, family members, and acquaintances experience on a day-to-day basis.

To my fellow white people, we will never truly understand and we don’t have to in order to make a difference.

We don’t have to truly understand to know that black lives matter.

We don’t have to truly understand on a visceral level to stand up, speak out, and to support the movement for justice.

We don’t have to truly understand to be outraged, enraged, and to fight for the rights of our black brothers and sisters to live another day.

What we can’t do is stand by in silence thinking that because we have had a black President for the last eight years that racism is no longer an issue.

Racism is alive and well in today’s society and it’s up to us to make a change—but first we need to admit that this is an epidemic. And by “we” I mean all of us…especially white people.

I want to keep hope alive and to believe that this world can be different. That one day we can truly all live together, as one, without so much hate, fear, and senseless violence. But it’s not going to happen with one voice or one race standing on their own. What we are dealing with is much bigger than that and it’s past time for us to come together.

White people, we don’t have to understand the pain to stand up and make a difference. How many more lives have to be taken for us to stand up and do what’s right?




Author: Lamisha Serf-Walls

Image: Flickr/5chw4r7z

Editor: Travis May

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